The Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) receives one of the biggest percentage increases (22%) in the Clinton budget. A total of $277 million in federal funds is proposed for the program to develop the so-called Supercar--a vehicle with very low emissions and up to three times the fuel efficiency of today's cars. The fattest chunk of the federal budget for PNGV, $164 million, goes to the Department of Energy. The government and the Big Three automakers share PNGV costs. A breakdown of the Administration's budget for PNGV reflects a recent decision to concentrate R&D on four key systems: hybrid electric vehicle drives, direct injection engines, fuel cells, and lightweight materials. On the other hand, funding falls for projects now considered less promising--gas turbines and ultracapacitors. The budget also retracts from further federal research into areas that appear to have commercial applications and have reached a proprietary point.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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